artist / participant
Till Freiwald Mark Moore Gallery is pleased to present the first West Coast exhibition of Belgian artist Till Freiwald’s large-scale watercolors. Freiwald’s images further the question of contemporary identity, depicting everyday people of various ethnicities in closely-cropped head-on portraits. These works are minimal and documentary, a straightforward approach that belies their soft and beautiful effect. In Freiwald’s watercolors, our sense of the inner life of each sitter is as important as our sense of the abstract geometry of the human face—revealed by the artist in the delicate curve of a chin, the fullness of a lip, or the glint of an eye.
Freiwald’s work occupies an odd space between realism and idealism. His images get to the heart of the issues surrounding contemporary portraiture, conflating the specificity of its practice—and its goal of revealing the depicted subject—with the widespread leveling conventions of photographic representation. Photography, as it appears in magazines and other media, is disposable, as are the images of the people depicted: we see many pictures of people each day, but rarely engage ourselves with the people we see. Freiwald’s images carve out an intimate and meditative space to explore and feel the power of the human image, but at the same time, they are oddly general, even alienating. The distancing of photographic representation is mirrored in Freiwald’s own practice: the artist works primarily from memory, mediating his images of his sitters with his own fleeting memories of them.
Till Freiwald’s work was recently the subject of one-person exhibitions at the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Gellscraft der Freund Junger Kunst in Baden-Baden. Freiwald’s work has been seen in shows at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Bozen, the Rupertinum in Salzburg and the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine.
Gail Dawson About five years ago, Gail Dawson began painting from digital video. Recorded as computer code rather than on a spool of tape, digital video is not unlike painting: no matter how complex its image are, in the end the whole thing comes down to the little bits and pieces—be they bytes or brushstrokes—making it all up.
Gail Dawson’s paintings and works on paper take on the pixels of digital video as a veil of interference, something between the viewer and what they are looking at, forming and disforming the image, which can only be as ‘true’ to its source as the logic of its presentation allows it to be. Pixels, like paint strokes, figure representation and at the same time resist it—consider the hesitant mark of Cézanne or the intentionally indiscriminate brushstrokes of Gerhard Richter—the former signifying a painter’s authorship, the latter implying, for some, the death of the individual’s ability as such. Inspired in part by the caprices of the camera and the charged history of painterly mark-making, Dawson has invented a pictorial language of dots and lines, circles and diamonds to shape and form her images: at some moments, you see an undecipherable array of marks; at others, a bird or person. Dawson’s goal here, at least in part, is to render the mark-making system visible, to make negotiating it a part of looking and to invite the viewer to see not only the image, but also what makes it up.
Included in the show will be several of Dawson’s paintings as well as a selection of her video pieces. Gail Dawson’s work was been included in exhibitions at Gensler Architects, Houston; the Salina Art Museum in Salina, Kansas; the Haggerty Gallery at the University of Dallas; UTSA Satellite Space at the University of San Antonio; and the Jones Center for Contemporary Art in Austin, Texas.
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Till Freiwald / Gail Dawson